Torah Teaser – Parshat Chukas Questions & Answers – July 15 2116-5776

Would Dama Ben Nesina Buy A Parah Aduma? The Gemara tells us that Dama Ben Nesina, a non-Jew, was a sterling example of Kibud Av V’Eim. When his concern for his father’s sleep caused him to lose a great fortune, he was rewarded with a Parah Aduma, which more than helped him recover his loss. The Chidushei HaRim asks, “Why was he rewarded specifically with a Parah Aduma?” He answers that when Dama did his great deed, it caused the Malachim in Shamayim to criticize Bnei Yisrael. They pointed out that a non-Jew had greater Kibud Av than we did. Hashem’s response was to give Dama a Parah Aduma to show that while a non-Jew is prepared to sacrifice a large sum of money for a good deed that is perfectly logical; Bnei Yisrael is prepared to spend even more money for a mitzvah whose reason is beyond our human understanding. Mi K’Amcha Yisrael! (Iturei Torah)

A Lesson In Self Sacrifice “Zois Chukas HaTorah… ViYikchu Aylecha Parah Adumah; This is the statute of the Torah… and they shall take to you a Parah Adumah.” Why does it say, “Zois Chukas HaTorah; This is the statute of the Torah,” – instead of “Zois Chukas Parah Adumah; This is the statute of the Parah Adumah,” The laws concerning the Parah Adumah are paradoxical. On the one hand, when the mixture is sprinkled, a person who is Tamai becomes Tahor. On the other hand, those who are involved in the preparation of the Parah Adumah become Tamai. The people appointed to prepare the Parah Adumah may rationally argue, “Why should we become Tamai for the sake of those who were not careful to avoid contact with a corpse?” Through the Chok of Parah Adumah, the Torah is teaching that a Jew must help another Jew, even if that reqires sacrifice. This is “Chukas HaTorah; A basic principle of Torah,” – and though we may not easily comprehend it, we must practice it in our daily lives.

Only Tears But No Competition For Aharon’s Job “Vayivku Es Aharon Shloshim Yom Kol Bais Yisrael,” (Chukas 20:29). When Aharon died the Torah tells us that every single member of Bnei Yisrael cried. However when Moshe died it only says that Bnei Yisrael in general cried but not every single person. Why? Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz answers that when Aharon died, Elazar, his son, was destined to fill his role. No one had any ideas about inheriting his prestigious position. Therefore, they all cried over his absence. When Moshe was Niftar, he was succeeded by Yehoshua who was old and had no children. That meant that the position would soon be vacant once again with no clear successor. Some people who felt they were legitimate candidates for the job did not cry over Moshe’s death, since their reward would outweigh the loss.

Hashem Says Serpent And Moshe Makes A Snake Bnei Yisrael complained about their food situation and blamed it on Hashem and Moshe Rabbeinu. Suddenly there was an attack of poisonous snakes and people were dying. Hashem tells Moshe, “Aseh Licha Saraf V’Sim Oso An Nes; Make for yourself a Serpent and place it on a flagpole,” (Chukas 21:8). The next pasuk says, “Vayas Moshe Nichash Nichoshes; Moshe made a copper snake.” Why did Moshe make a Nachash if Hashem told him to make a Saraf? The Ksav Sofer answers that Am Yisrael did two things wrong. They spoke about Hashem and Moshe. To do tshuva for speaking about Hashem they needed to contemplate a Nachash reminiscent of the Nachas HaKadmoni in Gan Eden who spoke bad about Hashem and incited Chava. In Pirkei Avos the Mishna (2:11) says to tread carefully with Talmidei Chachomim since “Lichishasan Lichishas Saraf; Their bite is like that if a Saraf.” Hashem was concerned about the Kavod of Moshe and insisted he rectify this with a Saraf. Moshe did not care about his Kavod, but rather that of Hashem, so he made a Nachash. Maybe we could add that this is seen in the words of Hashem, “Aseh LichaSaraf; Make for yourself a Saraf.” It is for you, for your kavod.

Which Stick Was Used To Bring The Water? “Kach Es HaMateh… ViDebartem El HaSelah LiAynayhem ViNasan Maimav; Take the stick… and speak to the rock before their eyes that it shall give its waters.” What purpose was the stick to serve, and what was Moshe to say to the rock? Aaron and Moshe each had their own stick. When Hashem wanted Aaron or Moshe to take his own stick, he would say, “Matecha – Your stick.” Since in this pasuk it says. “HaMateh – The stick,” – obviously it was a special one with unique qualities. In Parshas Korach, Moshe told the leaders of each Shevet to bring a stick to put into the Mishkan. On each would be written the leader of that Shevet, with Aaron’s name written on the stick of Shevet Levi. The stick belonging to the one who was chosen by Hashem would blossom. The stick of Aaron blossomed and produced almonds and eventually was placed in the Kodesh HaKadoshim next to the Aron. It was this stick that Moshe was to take. This corresponds with the pasuk that says, “Moshe took the stick from before Hashem.” (20:9) The purpose of taking the stick was to show it to the rock as if to say, “Learn this lesson; just as a dry piece of wood suddenly became moist and alive in order to sanctify Hashem’s name, so should you sanctify Hashem’s name by giving water, even though it is not your nature.” (Kli Yakar)

Created By Rov Avrohom Sherman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *